Last Thursday I had one of those lovely “only in New York” days that happen from time to time. I had returned from vacation in Montauk late Wednesday night and I was up early Thursday morning to do a show at the NYU Kimmel Center as part of So We Are for the day’s festivities, The Mind. At 11 am, I think it’s the record for earliest gig ever. Performing at these science events is always fun and interesting, especially being the nerd that I am. Afterwards I returned to my car I had parked in Williamsburg but not before grabbing a late breakfast/early lunch at my all-time favorite noodle place. Seriously, if you are reading this and like joy and happiness, I highly recommend paying it a visit. It’s also one of two places along with The Diamond bar that you will most likely find me in the Greenpoint/Williamsburg area at any given time.
I returned to the city later in the evening as I had a doctor’s appointment near Washington Square, and then a rehearsal in the Lower East Side two hours later for RR. It was such a beautiful day that I decided to walk through the village on my way to the studio to kill some time. Walking down Bleeker Street I heard some thumping grooves coming from The Bitter End. Bass guitar on my shoulder I decided to walk across the street and peer in through the window. There on stage was one of my favorite bass players, Will Lee. Will until recently played with the CBS Orchestra, the house band led by Paul Schaffer for The Late Show with David Letterman. I had seen Will play several times due to generous VIP tickets my mate Jeff got me when he was performing on the show. I didn’t even realize that I was rocking back and forward out on the street to the music. Will looked up and seen me through the window and gave me a big smile and a nod. I wish I could have went in but I had to be across town.
Later, due to “vacation brain” I realized that I got the dates wrong and there was no rehearsal. So I grabbed a quick bite and made my way back across the village to the Four Faced Liar where I knew some musician friends of mine always hang out. Probably due to the beer, I found myself loudly obsessing over a Guild 1964/5 Hoboken built F20 guitar that I almost bought but didn’t. I guess this is my new focus now until I get one, or get over it. After a beer or two I left and made for a quick stop at the Kettle of Fish, in my opinion the best bar in town. It’s nice to walk in to a place no matter after how long and pick up conversations where you had previously left off. In my case it was over a year since I was there and it could have been five minutes ago.
Familiar faces, places and beautiful weather made a for a perfect day in the city. I don’t have much else to say about it except that there is no other place i’d rather be when the summer weather begins to cool off just a little. I’m not sure why I even wrote this, I guess i’ve been so busy with music and shows that I need to step back sometimes and realize that there are days like Thursday that could easily be forgotten.
Four Faced Liar
Kettle of Fish
View from Kimmel Center, NYU.
The Bitter End & Peculiar Pub
Well that was a fun show . We’re back after many months with a full band thanks to the super-skills of New York native, Al Hoberman. We even got a little write-up on the front page of The Deli Magazine!!
Be sure to check out our schedule for all upcoming shows, adventures and whatnot.
An actual space helmet. It’s amazing what you can get on the internet from China. I plan to sell it after a band photoshoot. It wasn’t cheap. Then again, it looks kinda cool on my bookshelf. I wish my ten year old self could see me now.
Last weekend I had a lot of fun playing as “So We Are and the Rock Valley Retinue” at the Rock Valley School House. We played songs from the album we recored there called “Things We’ve Learned”.
One of the many photographs I took during the recording process was used for the record cover. It really captured the isolation of recording in Long Eddy, NY. Out now and available everywhere.
I got last-minute tickets to see Radiohead play at Madison Square Garden this week. I tried to buy them online like everyone else but it was impossible. Radiohead are my favorite band, and one that I have followed since their very first album Pablo Honey. I remember finding a small photocopied interview with the band just before they released The Bends in the pre-internet days of 1995. I don’t think a band can possibly create that type of interest or mystery due to social media these days. I read the interview so much I’m pretty sure I could recite it word for word even now. My first Radiohead gig was in Galway in 1996. My girlfriend and I took the train out west and camped outside their hotel singing their songs with a large crowd. Later we sang along with them at the Castlegar Sports Grounds. A mix of Pablo Honey and The Bends were started off with My Iron Lung. They even played some new songs that would appear on OK Computer the following year; Let Down, Electioneering, No Surprises and Lucky along with the rare but brilliant Lift.
The following year they returned after the release of OK Computer and I received tickets from a radio station competition (Name three other bands from Oxford). They played the RDS Arena to a frenzied crowd that heaved and screamed to every song. It was the gig that inspired the song How To Disappear Completely.
Q: “What springs to mind when you look back on 1997?” Thom: “We did this show in Dublin which was by far the biggest show we’d ever done, and we were headlining in front of about 33,000 people. It was sheer blind terror. My most distinctive memory of the whole year was the dream I had that night: I was running down the [River] Liffey, stark bullock naked, being pursued by a huge tidal wave.” Q: “You could have a ball psycho-analyzing that one. Do you know what dreams mean?” Thom: “No. But I find it imperative that I write them down, just for my own sanity.” – (Rolling Stone, December 1997)
I have not been able to see them since that show. To be honest they lost me after Kid A. I left home and travelled for quit some time, the only music I had were the CDs I lugged around in my backpack. They weren’t playing Kid A or Amnesiac on the radio stations where I was passing through. To be honest, that whole part of my life is a bit of a blur, 2001 – 2004. I ended up in New York, quit music and pursued comedy and writing for a time. I eventually returned to music and rediscovered Radiohead’s later material. Just last year I bought Kid A on vinyl from a local record store that also sells my own band’s records. Full circle.
I’m not sure exactly what it is about the band that grabbed me beside the obvious, great songs. There was a mystery to them, but also their blunt unpolished assessment of modern living, especially on OK Computer. As I was realizing that what I was learning in college wasn’t what I wanted to do in life when I graduated, they released OK Computer. It pretty much summed up the lifeless dead-end existence I was rushing towards. They were also the only band besides Pink Floyd that I felt could create entire soundscapes for me to get lost in. Their music was bigger than the band, and that’s as best a band could ever wish for. Radiohead at MSG was amazing, and worth the wait.
I performed at the Gowanus Souvenir Store last night along with the talented Ruby Rae as part of their first ever acoustic night. It was a lot of fun as was the post-show drinks & BBQ.
Musical adventures continue…